Friday, October 27, 2017

The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

Title: The Rules of Magic
Author: Alice Hoffman
Publisher: Simon Schuster
Publication date: October 10, 2017
Pages: 369
Source/format: Purchased//Hardcover

Rating: ☆☆☆1/2

Synopsis (from

Find your magic

For the Owens family, love is a curse that began in 1620, when Maria Owens was charged with witchery for loving the wrong man.

Hundreds of years later, in New York City at the cusp of the sixties, when the whole world is about to change, Susanna Owens knows that her three children are dangerously unique. Difficult Franny, with skin as pale as milk and blood red hair, shy and beautiful Jet, who can read other people’s thoughts, and charismatic Vincent, who began looking for trouble on the day he could walk.

From the start Susanna sets down rules for her children: No walking in the moonlight, no red shoes, no wearing black, no cats, no crows, no candles, no books about magic. And most importantly, never, ever, fall in love. But when her children visit their Aunt Isabelle, in the small Massachusetts town where the Owens family has been blamed for everything that has ever gone wrong, they uncover family secrets and begin to understand the truth of who they are. Back in New York City each begins a risky journey as they try to escape the family curse.

The Owens children cannot escape love even if they try, just as they cannot escape the pains of the human heart. The two beautiful sisters will grow up to be the revered, and sometimes feared, aunts in Practical Magic, while Vincent, their beloved brother, will leave an unexpected legacy.

M Y  T H O U G H T S

Do as you will, but harm no one.
What you give will be returned to you threefold.
Fall in love whenever you can.

The Rules of Magic is a prequel to Practical Magic. If you loved reading about Gillian and Sally, you will love diving into the childhood of Franny, Jet and Vincent. For most of their lives, the three siblings have to live under their parents' strict rules. Their mother hides things from them even though they know they are different. Being outcasts at school is hard enough but their mother would tell them no walking in the moonlight, no wearing black, no night-blooming flowers and etc.

One summer, the three children travel to a small town in Massachusetts from New York City to visit their Aunt Isabelle on Magnolia Street. Here is where they learned more about the black soap that their mother uses and about the curse that is upon the Owens family. Franny, Jet and Vincent each have their own personality traits, natural gifts and temperaments that set them apart from each other but they are connected by the Owens magical bloodline. Taking place starting from the 1960s until more present day, readers delve into the history of the Owens family legend while watching the three siblings grow up falling in love and dealing with heartbreak.

Alice Hoffman has a gift with words. Her descriptions are exquisite and you can smell the fragrances depicted in the novel right off the pages. There is one scene when Aunt Isabelle is making soap with the help of Franny in which the bars of soap set quickly even though the soap is made with lye. It's just a minor thing but saponification of soap is not quick and the soap needs to cure for 1-2 weeks for hot process soap and 4-6 weeks for cold process soap.

Hoffman's charming characters shine in The Rules of Magic. Readers learn to embrace family, believing in yourself and overcoming heartbreak. The Rules of Magic is a heartwarming novel yet tragic at the same time. Readers will be entranced by the whimsical magic. Just remember that "There is no remedy for love, but to love more."

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